American dramatist Tony Kushner seems to have found a home away from home in Vienna.
The Schauspielhaus, one of the city's most thriving smaller stages, had its premiere of Kushner's play L'Illusion (Die Illusion) on November 29.
This is the third time a Kushner play is being staged at the Schauspielhaus. In 1994 and 1995, both parts of Angels in America, decorated on Broadway with four Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, played to near-capacity houses. Slavs! followed in 1996.
Kushner's L'Illusion is a free adaption of Pierre Corneille's play of the same title, which was originally staged in 1635. Kushner's version deals with the fight of youth for freedom, love and sexuality against a fathers' generation.
Die Illusion not only boasts lighting design by Philippe Arlaud, but also a strong cast led by Silvia Fenz, Georges Kern and Meriam Abbas. For the last 20 years, Hans Gratzer, who also directs Die Illusion, has built the Schauspielhaus into one of the most interesting stages in Vienna. It nearly always succeeds in living up to its maxim of showing "young and dynamic theatre of today to a young and dynamic audience of today."
The 1997-98 season, which started with an equally provocative and successful production of Faust, offers a string of modern Anglo-American plays. Die Illusion will be followed by Blasted (by Sarah Kane, premiering on Jan. 20), I Licked a Slag's Deodorant (Jim Cartwright, Jan. 27) and Shopping and Fucking (Mark Ravenhill, Feb. 26).
Tickets for Die Illusion can be ordered at the Schauspielhaus (Porzellengasse 19, A-1090 VIENNA, Tel: +43-1-317 01 01).
- By Bernd Freimueller